ARC 327R / ARC 386M / ARI 350R
This course introduces students of architecture, architectural engineering, interior design, structural engineering, landscape architecture, and other majors to the management and leadership of professional design firms. Using case studies, lectures, written assignments, and presentations by real-world clients and principals of successful architecture, real estate, engineering, planning, and interior design firms, the course invokes a considered inquiry into the nature and challenges of producing high-quality design within the context of the business necessities of professional design practice. The course provides insights into the industry within which design and engineering firms operate; business planning for starting, managing, and leading a professional practice; marketing, branding, and positioning of professional practices; planning and strategic decision-making for the professional practitioner; pricing of professional services, economics and financial management of professional firms, and methodologies for establishing and negotiating appropriate fees and billing rates; budgeting and controlling of firm expenses; general management theory and its application to professional architectural, engineering, interior design, and other professional firms. The course explores the unique nature of design firm culture; risk assessment and mitigation; succession planning, ownership transition, and valuation of professional firms. The course helps students understand the business, economic, operational, and marketing aspects of firms they join after graduation, provides a foundation for advancement within those firms, and covers the essential knowledge for starting their own design firm should they decide to pursue that career option.